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Injury and Recovery of Maize Roots Affected by Flooding

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Applied Engineering in Agriculture. 32(5): 627-638. (doi: 10.13031/aea.32.11633) @2016
Authors:   Victor McDaniel, R. Wayne Skaggs, Lamyaa M. Negm
Keywords:   Root growth, Flooding, Corn, Root mortality, Plant recovery.

Abstract. Proper soil environment for adequate root growth is crucial to maintain crop yields. Excessively wet soil conditions cause poor root growth and restrict plant water and nutrient uptake. The purpose of this study was to investigate corn root response to flooding and the root system ability to recover after saturation. Corn plants were grown in 1.3 m tall acrylic cylinders under controlled conditions. Plants were subjected to flooding for 1, 3, or 5 days at growth stages V4, V8, V12, and R1. Data were collected throughout the growing season on: root growth, root depth, and root mass. Root mortality was noted after the flooding treatment. Roots responded quickly to saturation (flooding) and all growth ceased within 24 h. Recovery to normal growth rates occurred within five days unless the saturation caused severe plant damage. One day of flooding did not affect root mass at any stage of growth. Root mass was not affected by three days of flooding during the V4 and V8 stages. A significant reduction of root mass was noted for more than 35 days following 3-day inundation during V12 and R1. Flooding for five days during stage V4, V12, and R1 caused a significant reduction in root mass. Plants flooded during V8 suffered no significant reduction in root mass. Assessment of root response to saturated soil conditions is necessary to improve groundwater table management practices in high water table soils, as well as to enhance the performance of simulation model that predict plant growth and yield on drained lands.

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